From Cloud to chatbots, where will tomorrow's innovations take you?

Published 01/09/2017 by Gordon Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Advanced

Find out at Advanced World next year - register now

Recent research commissioned by Genesys found that, on average, UK consumers spent 17 minutes on hold to call centres every week; that’s five and a half weeks over the course of a lifetime. We’ve all experienced it: try talking to someone in customer services about a pressing problem and instead end up frustrated – and possibly hanging up – having been passed from pillar to post.

The digital age has driven customer expectations to challenging heights. Today’s customers expect fast, personal and helpful customer service wherever, and whenever, they need it. If people aren’t getting the service options or level of personalisation they desire, the risk is that they are more than happy to look elsewhere.

Consequently, for many companies, delivering a great customer experience is fast becoming the battleground where business is won and lost. Thankfully, new channels and technologies provide a wealth of fresh opportunities. According to a recent Forrester report, call centres will step aside so that artificial intelligence (AI), bots, and other intelligent self-service solutions can address customer-facing problems over the next decade. Why? Because automation can reshape customer engagement and provide more personalised offers at scale than human-run services can. In fact, by 2020, it’s predicted that 85% of customers will manage 85% of their relationship with a business through AI.

Of course, it’s happening already. More than 10,000 companies in the UK are developing Facebook Messenger chatbots to improve communications with consumers, and 5,000 Shopify merchants are already distributing order confirmations and shipping alerts via Messenger, showing how e-commerce companies are eager to reach the app’s nearly one billion users. Vodafone, meanwhile, is trialling a new voice authentication service to make it easier and quicker for its customers to verify their identity, access their details and receive an account update through Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa.

Consumer demand is pushing for faster and more automated services in many areas, putting customers firmly in the driving seat. For example, innovative chambers Clerksroom has developed an AI driven Billy.Bot, a ‘robot junior clerk’that will support the work of a traditional barristers’ clerk, identify what legal help people need and match them to the right legal representation. Integrating with MLC, Advanced’s chambers management software solution, the chatbot’s goal is when someone needs a lawyer or barrister, it can automate the process of finding the most suitable representation, know who is available at the right time, and manage the scheduling of appointments and attendance in court for example, removing tedious administration that a clerk would manage and making it quicker and less expensive for the consumer, especially relevant for more simple cases.

Artificial intelligence technology can help to improve the customer experience in a variety of areas – another transformative sector is health and care. According to The King’s Fund, NHS quality standards have slipped to their lowest level in more than a decade. While the reasons for NHS customer service challenges are varied and widely debated, it is without doubt that technology can help to deliver positive patient outcomes whilst driving efficiencies. Empowering patients to self-help rather than contact an NHS service, will help reduce the number of patients who need to see a GP. For example, Olivia, Sense.ly’s AI virtual nurse app, which is based on Advanced’s innovative Odyssey software, gathers details by asking questions to the ‘patient’, just like a GP would in person, but the app then acts upon the information and provides specific actions and decisions based on answers given by the patient, to advise on the best course of action.

Although AI is an exciting and inventive area of technology that is grabbing the media attention and something we’ll certainly be showcasing at Advanced World, it’s also important to think more broadly about the key to success with our customers’ customers.

A Cloud-first strategy is becoming increasingly enticing, where businesses of all sizes simply subscribe to software-as-a-service (SaaS) and benefit from technology that provides the flexibility to grow with you, offering seamless access to the latest product advances, with the ability to add new modules and services as and when, all in real time, and all very easily.

This will be very much the theme of Advanced World next March. With ‘making the complex simple’ the over-riding theme of Advanced World 2018, one of the three key pillars - Product Insights - will give our customers a taste of ‘Tomorrow’s World’ in the here and now. So whether you want to review the latest technology innovations or check out some of the new product developments coming to market in 2018, please sign up here and keep up-to-date on how our plans for this event are shaping up.